Freedom of Religion… and the Malaysian reality

What does religious freedom mean if we would use it as a cover for hate and privilege?

DaShanne Stokes

Before Walski continues with what’s on his mind, he asks your indulgence to take this simple poll:

So, you might be wondering: what is it that got under Walski’s skin to write about this?

Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few weeks, you will probably have heard about the plight of one Loh Siew Hong. Her husband, who converted to Islam, took their three children, left them at a charity home where they were converted to Islam, with only the husband’s consent.

Granted that the High Court has ordered the release of the three children into her custody, Madam Loh’s ordeal is not over. Pretty much the entire Malaysian Islamic Bureaucracy, and the countless NGOs of the Islamic vein, are pressuring to ensure the three kids remain Muslims.

Now, bear this in mind: at the time of conversion the twin girls would have been around 11 years old, while their younger brother around 7. Now, would anyone that young appreciate or understand their “decision” (assuming there was no coercion involved) would be binding for the rest of their lives? Walski contends that the answer is NO. For pretty much the same reasons why driver’s licenses are NEVER issued to 7 or 11 year olds.

The now question is whether or not the Malaysian Islamic Bureaucracy, and the NGOs that prop them, will leave Madam Loh to raise her kids in the best of her ability and conscience, OR will they continue to force their way into the family’s lives?

So yeah, that’s what’s gotten under Walski’s skin.

Back to the question the poll asks: is there freedom of religion in Malaysia? Walski will leave the poll up until the end of February, after which we’ll look at the results and discuss. If you were following the earlier myAsylum blog or know Walski first-hand, you’ll probably be able to guess his answer to the question. So as to not prejudice the poll results, we’ll leave this as it is for now.

But before Walski concludes this post, consider what the Federal Constitution says about freedom of religion:

Clause (1) in Article 11 of the Federal Constitution states thusly:

(1) Every person has the right to profess and practise his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.

Clause (4), which is a qualifier, states: State law and in respect of the Federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and putrajaya, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.

So effectively, freedom of religion is, in theory, enshrined in the Federal Constitution. But does freedom of religion, in practice and in reality, exist in Malaysia?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

One thought on “Freedom of Religion… and the Malaysian reality

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